Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

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Basics

Description

Infectious and noninfectious inflammation of the conjunctiva; majority of cases are self-limited

Etiology


Infectious:
Commonly referred to as “pink eye”:
  • Bacterial:
    • Staphylococcus aureus (most adult infections)
    • Streptococcus pneumoniae
    • Moraxella catarrhalis
    • Haemophilus influenzae (declining prevalence)
    • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
    • Neisseria gonorrhoeae (GC):
      • Neonatal or adult
      • Ophthalmic emergency
    • Chlamydia trachomatis:
      • Neonatal or subacute infection (teens/adults)
  • Viral:
    • Adenovirus, most common:
      • Some serotypes cause fulminant form – epidemic keratoconjunctivitis (EKC), ophthalmic emergency
    • Herpes simplex virus (HSV) and varicella zoster virus (VZV):
      • Ophthalmic emergency

Noninfectious
  • Allergic:
    • Pollen, animal dander, environmental antigens
  • Contact/toxic/chemical:
    • May be due to chemical irritation, hypersensitivity from preservatives, medications, shampoo, chlorine, dust, smoke
    • Pseudomonas commonly implicated organism in contact lens wearers

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Basics

Description

Infectious and noninfectious inflammation of the conjunctiva; majority of cases are self-limited

Etiology


Infectious:
Commonly referred to as “pink eye”:
  • Bacterial:
    • Staphylococcus aureus (most adult infections)
    • Streptococcus pneumoniae
    • Moraxella catarrhalis
    • Haemophilus influenzae (declining prevalence)
    • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
    • Neisseria gonorrhoeae (GC):
      • Neonatal or adult
      • Ophthalmic emergency
    • Chlamydia trachomatis:
      • Neonatal or subacute infection (teens/adults)
  • Viral:
    • Adenovirus, most common:
      • Some serotypes cause fulminant form – epidemic keratoconjunctivitis (EKC), ophthalmic emergency
    • Herpes simplex virus (HSV) and varicella zoster virus (VZV):
      • Ophthalmic emergency

Noninfectious
  • Allergic:
    • Pollen, animal dander, environmental antigens
  • Contact/toxic/chemical:
    • May be due to chemical irritation, hypersensitivity from preservatives, medications, shampoo, chlorine, dust, smoke
    • Pseudomonas commonly implicated organism in contact lens wearers

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